I propose that businesses should adopt an approach of publicly reporting on customer delight/satisfaction in the same way that financial performance is reported today. In turn businesses that perform well on customer delight should expect to be rewarded with a loyal customer base and more profitable future outlook.
While it is reasonably easy for anyone to find the latest financial performance data for a major corporation it is next to impossible to find any metrics on customer satisfaction. I believe the absence of customer satisfaction data on company websites, yearly appraisals, and end of year financial reports is sending all of the wrong signals to employees, customers, and even investors.
My hack relates to measurement. In my experience what gets measured gets focus. It’s a hackneyed cliché but like most clichés it rings true because there is truth in it. Most businesses measure financial performance. Those measurements drive behaviours. There may be other measurements that look at customer satisfaction, brand affinity, and so on but these are mostly used for internal consumption and are rarely seen by customers. In my experience this sort of information usually goes no further the sales and service teams.
Reporting on customer satisfaction to an external audience has a purpose. I argue this because I believe that for many businesses the points of differentiation are few and that the future battle ground for success will be customer loyalty. I draw a direct connection between the delighted consumer and the loyal customer.
My argument is to treat customer satisfaction in a similar fashion to external financial performance. I suggest that focusing on financial performance alone may deliver short term financial gain but does nothing to address the issue of customer delight or loyalty and as such does little to address the future potential areas of success and opportunity for the enterprise.
But I am under no illusion. To make such a significant change requires support from a number of stakeholders. Not least the employees of the organisation and the chief executive. Though bottom up change is very much in vogue I believe a change as radical as this requires an inspired leader. In order for this change to be believable to both internal and external audiences it should come from the top. Most, if not all, CEO’s are rewarded exclusively on the basis of financial results. Until remuneration policy changes at the top it is unlikely that changes further down the chain are likely to stick.
Improved customer satisfaction
Delighted employees leading the way to becoming a high performing organisation
A customer inspired innovation roadmap (as you begin to address product deficiencies to drive up delight)
Assess and understand the satisfaction metrics available to you today
Document the gap between what you already know about customer delight and what you would like to learn
Review the output of voice of the customer programmes where they exist
Review your innovation and product development roadmap and compare that with dissatisfaction drivers